Safety of DDT to Humans [chronic effects]

Comprehensive related bibliographies are available from Cornell University for DDT, DDE, and for Pyrethroids.






  1. Adami, H.O., L. Lipworth, L. Titus-Ernstoff, C.C. Hsieh, A. Hanberg, V. Ahlborg, J. Baron, and D. Trichopoulos. 1995. Organochlorine compounds and estrogen-related cancers in women. Cancer Causes Control. 6(6):551-566. Abstract. "We conclude that available data do not indicate that organochlorines will affect the risk of these two cancers in any but the most unusual situation.".
  2. Ahlborg, U.G., L. Lipworth, L. Titus-Ernstoff, C.C. Hsieh, A. Hanberg, J. Baron, D. Trichopoulos, and H.O. Adami. 1995. Organochlorine compounds in relation to breast cancer, endometrial cancer, and endometriosis: an assessment of the biological and epidemiological evidence. Crit. Rev. Toxicol. 25(6):463-531. Abstract. Review Article "The hypothesis that human exposure to environmental levels or organochlorines would favor an estrogenic overactivity leading to an increase in estrogen-dependent formation of mammary or endometrial tumors is not supported by the existing in vitro, animal and epidemiological evidence"
  3. Ames, B.N., and L.S. Gold. 1998. The causes and prevention of cancer: the role of environment. Biotherapy. 11(2-3):205-220. Abstract. Review Article.
  4. Bouwman, H., P.J. Becker, and C.H. Schutte. 1994. Malaria control and longitudinal changes in levels of DDT and its metabolites in human serum from KwaZulu. Bull. W.H.O. 72(6):921-930. Abstract.
  5. Bouwman, H., R.M. Cooppan, P.J. Becker, and S. Ngxongo. 1991. Malaria control and levels of DDT in serum of two populations in Kwazulu. J. Toxicol. Environ. Health. 33(2):141-55. Abstract. confirmed safety of malaria control usage.
  6. Bouwman, H., R.M. Cooppan, M.J. Both, and P.J. Becker. 1991. Serum levels of DDT and liver function of malaria control personnel. S. Afr. Med. J. 79: 326-29 [PubMed].
  7. Chand, B., T. Sankaranarayan, R.L. Yadava, and M.V. Narasimham. 1991. Residues of DDT and its metabolite in blood of exposed factory workers and their correlation with ill health symptoms. J. Commun. Dis. 23(4):245-247. Abstract. "The residue levels of DDE, op1--DDT and pp1--DDT of the factory workers exposed to DDT formulations having temporary clinical symptoms and of those without any such symptoms did not show any significant difference in their values suggestive of no direct correlation between insecticide residues and ill health symptoms. The average residue values of DDT (mg/litre) and its metabolite DDE (mg/litre) in exposed workers were 0.8634 +/- 0.1529 and 0.2106 +/- 0.0458 respectively while in unexposed control subjects 0.0826 +/- 0.0238 and 0.0278 +/- 0.0040. Total DDT residue in blood in exposed workers is more than 10 times higher than the same in unexposed control."
  8. Cocco, P., A. Blair, P. Congia, G. Saba, A.R. Ecca, and C. Palmas. 1997. Long-term health effects of the occupational exposure to DDT. A preliminary report. Ann. N. Y. Acad. Sci. 837:246-256. Abstract. Study investigated deaths of men who took part in anantimalarial campaign in Sardinia, Italy from 1946 to 1950. Proportional mortality ratio (PMR) for cardiovascular diseases was significantly decreased, but increases were found for liver and biliary tract cancer. This was found both among malaria workers exposed to DDT and also among those not directly exposed to DDT. There was no relation of cancer to length of employment in jobs with DDT exposure. Reason for increased risk in malaria workers is not known, but the fact that it also occurred among non-exposed workers and was not dose-responsive suggests that DDT may not have been the cause. Further research needed.
  9. Cocco, P., A. Blair, P. Congia, G. Saba, C. Flore, M.R. Ecca, and C. Palmas. 1997.Proportional mortality of dichloro-diphenyl-trichloroethane (DDT) workers: a preliminary report. Arch. Environ. Health. 52(4):299-303. Abstract. similar conclusions to study by Cocco et al. above.
  10. Curtis, C.F., and J.D. Lines. 2000. Should DDT be banned by international treaty? Parasitol. Today. 16(3):119-121. Abstract.
  11. Davidson, N.E. 1998. Environmental estrogens and breast cancer risk. Curr. Opin. Oncol. 10(5):475-478. Abstract. Review Article. "However, epidemiologic studies assessing the link between exposure to pesticides or PCBs and breast cancer have generally not shown enhanced breast cancer risk with higher levels of xenoestrogen exposure. These findings heighten our uncertainty about the relevance of the preclinical findings to human breast cancer risk."
  12. Duell, E.J., R.C. Millikan, D.A. Savitz, B. Newman, J.C. Smith, M.J. Schell, and D. P. Sandler. 2000. A Population-Based Case-Control Study of Farming and Breast Cancer in North Carolina. Epidemiology. 11(5):523-531. Abstract from publisher and Table of Contents with Frameset. "Inverse associations [with breast cancer - R.S.] persisted when farming was restricted to calendar time periods of 2,2-bis(p-chlorophenyl)-1,1,1-trichloroethane (DDT) use or to farming at ages 9-16."
  13. Hayes, W.J. Jr, W.E. Dale, and C.I. Pirkle. 1971. Evidence of safety of long-term, high, oral doses of DDT for man. Arch. Environ. Health. 22(1):119-135.
  14. Helzlsouer, K.J., A.J. Alberg, H.Y. Huang, S.C. Hoffman, P.T. Strickland, J.W., J.W. Brock, V.W. Burse, L.L. Needham, D.A. Bell, J.A. Lavigne, J.D. Yager, and G.W. Comstock. 1999. Serum concentrations of organochlorine compounds and the subsequent development of breast cancer. Cancer Epidemiol. Biomarkers Prev. 8(6):525-532. Abstract. long-term study; inverse association of DDT with breast cancer; "Even after 20 years of follow-up, exposure to relatively high concentrations of DDE or PCBs showed no evidence of contributing to an increased risk of breast cancer.".
  15. Hoyer, A.P., P. Grandjean, T. Jorgensen, J.W. Brock, and H.B. Hartvig. 2000. [Organochlorine compounds and breast cancer--is there a connection between environmental pollution and breast cancer]? [in Danish]. Ugeskr Laeger. 162(7):922-926. Abstract. "The serum dieldrin concentration was associated with a significantly increased dose-related risk of breast cancer (Odds Ratio 2.05; 95% confidence interval 1.17-3.57; p for trend 0.01). There was no overall association between risk of breast cancer and DDT or polychlorinated biphenyls."
  16. Hunter, D.J., S.E. Hankinson, F. Laden, G.A. Colditz, J.E. Manson, W.C. Willett, F.E. Speizer, and M.S. Wolff. 1997. Plasma organochlorine levels and the risk of breast cancer. N. Engl. J. Med. 337(18):1253-1258. Abstract. Abstract from publisher. "Our data do not support the hypothesis that exposure to DDT and PCBs increases the risk of breast cancer."
  17. Key, T., and G. Reeves. 1994. Organochlorines in the environment and breast cancer. The data so far produced provide reassurance rather than anxiety. BMJ. 308: 1520-21 [no abstract available]
  18. Krieger, N, M.S. Wolff, R.A. Hiatt, M. Rivera, J. Vogelman, and N. Orentreich. 1994. Breast cancer and serum organochlorines: a prospective study among white, black, and Asian women. J. Natl. Cancer Inst. 86(8):589-599. Abstract. Long-term study involving follow-up of women from health examination in late 1960s. "CONCLUSION:The data do not support the hypothesis that exposure to DDE and PCBs increases risk of breast cancer."
  19. Laws, E.R. Jr, W.C. Maddrey, A. Curley, and V.W. Burse. 1973. Long-term occupational exposure to DDT. Arch. Environ. Health. 27(5):318-321. No abstract available.
  20. Lopez-Carrillo, L., A. Blair, M. Lopez-Cervantes, M. Cebrian, C. Rueda, R. Reyes, A. Mohar, and J. Bravo. 1997. Dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane serum levels and breast cancer risk: a case-control study from Mexico. Cancer Res. 7(17):3728-32. Abstract. "These results do not lend support to the hypothesis that DDT is causally related to breast cancer at the body-burden levels found in our study population but do not exclude the possibility that higher levels of exposure could still play a role in the etiology of this tumor."
  21. McDougal, A., and S. Safe. 1998. Induction of 16alpha-/2-hydroxyestrone metabolite ratios in MCF-7 cells by pesticides, carcinogens, and antiestrogens does not predict mammary carcinogens. Environ. Health Perspect. 106(4):203-206. Abstract.
  22. Rabello, M.N., W.F. Dealmeida, P. Pigati, M.T. Ungaro, T. Murata, C.A. Perira, and W. Becak. 1975. Cytogenetic study on individuals occupationally exposed to DDT. Mutat.Res. 1975 Jun;28(3):449-454. Abstract. "Workers from three insecticide plants in direct contact with 2,2-bis (beta-chlorophenyl)-I,I,I,-trichloroethane (DDT) did not differ significantly in the frequencies of cells with chromosomal aberrations when compared with controls from the same plants but not in direct contact with the drug. The same was true when a group of workers from one plant was compared with a control group from the Instituto Butantan, with no history of occupational exposure to DDT."
  23. Rothman, N., K.P. Cantor, A. Blair, D. Bush, J.W. Brock, K. Helzlsouer, S.H. Zahm, L.L. Needham, G.R. Pearson, R.N. Hoover, G.W. Comstock, and P.T. Strickland. 1997. A nested case-control study of non-Hodgkin lymphoma and serum organochlorine residues. Lancet. 350(9073):240-244. Abstract. Abstract and link to PDF article from publisher. "There was also evidence suggesting that seropositivity for the Epstein-Barr virus early antigen potentiated the effects of serum PCBs. By contrast, total lipid-corrected serum concentrations of DDT were not associated with risk of non-Hodgkin lymphoma.".
  24. Schoeffner, D.J., and V.P. Thorgeirsson. 2000. Susceptibility of nonhuman primates to carcinogens of human relevance. In Vivo. 14(1):149-156. Abstract. Discusses long-term study of primates from 1961 to 1997. "Long-term administration of saccharin or cyclamate did not result in toxicity or carcinogenicity in nonhuman primates, which is commonly seen in rodent models. Similar to rodent models and suspected in the human population, the fungal toxins, aflatoxin B1 and sterimatocystin, induced malignant liver tumors in monkeys. Relatively few animals administered DDT developed malignant tumors, however, hepatic and CNS toxicity was commonly observed." [I am guessing that high doses were used, because of the CNS toxicity - R.S.]
  25. Safe, S.H. 1997. Is there an association between exposure to environmental estrogens and breast cancer? Environ. Health Perspect. 105 Suppl. 3:675-678. Abstract.
  26. Safe, S.H., and T. Zacharewski. 1997. Organochlorine exposure and risk for breast cancer. Prog. Clin. Biol. Res. 396:133-145. Abstract.
  27. Schecter, A., P. Toniolo, L.C. Dai, L.T. Thuy, and M.S. Wolff. 1997. Blood levels of DDT and breast cancer risk among women living in the north of Vietnam. Arch. Environ. Contam. Toxicol. 33(4):453-456. Abstract. Abstract from publisher. "These results suggest that recent and past exposure to p,p'-DDT does not play an important role in the etiology of breast cancer among women living in a country with a tropical climate where insecticide use for mosquito control is common."
  28. Silinskas, K.C., and A.B. Okey. 1975. Protection by 1,1,1-trichloro-2,2-bis(p-chlorophenyl)ethane (DDT) against mammary tumors and leukemia during prolonged feeding of 7,12-dimethylbenz(a)anthracene to female rats. J. Natl. Cancer Inst. 55(3):653-657. Abstract.
  29. Smith, A.G. 1991. Chlorinated hydrocarbon insecticides. In: Hayes EJ, Laws, eds. Handbook of pesticide toxicology. San Diego: Academic Press. pp. 731-915.
  30. Thorgeirsson UP, Dalgard DW, Reeves J, Adamson RH. 1994. Tumor incidence in a chemical carcinogenesis study of nonhuman primates. Regul. Toxicol. Pharmacol. 19(2):130-151. Abstract. long-term major study of numerous compounds. "Food components tested which are probably most relevant to human exposure are the artificial sweeteners, cyclamate and saccharin. After 22 years of continuous dosing, neither cyclamate nor saccharin have shown any evidence of carcinogenic effects. Similarly, the tumorigenic potential of arsenic and DDT was negligible after dosing for 15-22 years. In contrast, the fungal food contaminants, aflatoxin B1 (AFB1) and sterigmatocystin (SMT), were found to be potent hepatocarcinogens."
  31. Tully, D.B., V.T. Cox, M.M. Mumtaz, V.L. Davis, and R.E. Chapin. 2000. Six high-priority organochlorine pesticides, either singly or in combination, are nonestrogenic in transfected HeLa cells. Reprod. Toxicol. 14(2):95-102. Abstract. "When tested in binary combinations, the pesticide mixtures showed no additional estrogenicity. Thus, the pesticides tested, singly or as mixtures, showed virtually no evidence of estrogenicity"
  32. Unger M, Kiaer H, Blichert-Toft M, Olsen J, Clausen J. 1984. Organochlorine compounds in human breast fat from deceased with and without breast cancer and in a biopsy material from newly diagnosed patients undergoing breast surgery. Environ. Res. 34(1):24-28. Abstract. Small Study"No significant differences were traced. Thus it seems that the accumulation of PCB and DDT measured in breast fat tissue do not relate to the occurrence of mammary cancer."
  33. van't Veer P, Lobbezoo IE, Martin-Moreno JM, Guallar E, Gomez-Aracena J, Kardinaal AF, Kohlmeier L, Martin BC, Strain JJ, Thamm M, van Zoonen P, Baumann BA, Huttunen JK, Kok FJ. 1997. DDT (dicophane) and postmenopausal breast cancer in Europe: case-control study. BMJ. 315(7100):81-85. Abstract. "Our study did not confirm the hypothesis that DDE concentrations in adipose tissue are higher inwomen with breast cancer. In contrast, we observed an overall inverse association between DDEand breast cancer, which was consistent in most of the study centres. "
  34. Weiderpass, E., H.O. Adami, J.A. Baron, A. Wicklund-Glynn, M. Aune, S. Atuma, and I. Persson. 2000. Organochlorines and endometrial cancer risk. Cancer Epidemiol. Biomarkers Prev. 9(5):487-493. Abstract. "..data do not support the hypothesis that the organochlorine exposure studied increases the risk for endometrial cancer.".
  35. Wong, O., W. Brocker, H.V. Davis, and G.S. Nagle. 1984. Mortality of workers potentially exposed to organic and inorganic brominated chemicals, DBCP, TRIS, PBB, and DDT. Br. J. Ind. Med. 41(1):15-24. Abstract. 3579 white male workers employed between 1935 and 1976 were studied. "No significant overall or cause-specific mortality excess was detected among employees potentially exposed to either TRIS or DDT." .
  36. Zheng, T., T.R. Holford, S.T. Mayne, B. Ward, D. Carter, P.H. Owens, R. Dubrow, S.H. Zahm, P. Boyle, S. Archibeque, and J. Tessari. 1999. DDE and DDT in breast adipose tissue and risk of female breast cancer. Amer. J. Epidemiol. 150(5):453-458. Abstract. "These results do not support an association between adipose tissue levels of DDE and DDT and breast cancer risk.".





information concerning retracted endocrine disruptor study. This study received widespread attention in editorial and regulatory circles until it was retracted.